Dingus Milktoast wrote:How about those idiot tourists that sailed too close to Somolia... free rescue?
Societies decide which risks to "socialize" -- meaning that the members of a society agree implicitly or explicitly that they will all shoulder the burden of certain risks -- fire, accidents, etc. The risks are spread them out, just like insurance -- except the insurance premiums are in the form of taxes. Risks that are outside the "societal agreement" aren't covered. When the agreements are implicit, it is sometimes hard to tell where certain risks fall. But that doesn't mean there are no limits -- just hard to define.
Societies are free to explicitly define what risks they are willing to accept. For example, NH passed a law allowing the recoupment of costs for rescues where the victim was neglient. I don't agree with such a rule because the standard is too low, but it is a perfect example of a society deciding (explicitly) that it will not bear the burden of rescuing negligent people. In NH, negligent people pay.
Did Australia decide, implicilty or explicitily, to pay for the rescue of an American citizen in the Indian Ocean pursuing her very risky dream of sailing around the world? I don't know anything about Australian law, but it's pretty doubtful. If you are asking me if she should pay -- yes, because I see the risks that she took as being well outside the "societal" contract (at least the types that exists in the USA). In other words, I don't think an individual can expect to shift the risk of any and all activities onto society.
As for the tourists near Somalia, they were French, recued by French commandos, no? Again, not sure what the laws in France would say about this -- it may depend on where the tourists were, what they were doing, etc. Don't know enough to express a personal opinion.
For the record, I am not saying they shouldn't be rescued, just discussing who pays.